Alcohol as a social lubricant
When thinking of alcohol being used as a social lubricant, I am reminded of two very different young ladies, who have openly admitted to being on camera while under the influence of alcohol.
I found myself fascinated about a year ago by Jennifer Lawrence (pictured on the right) when I heard that she had been cast in The Hunger Games film. I watched and loved three of her previous films, enjoyed her portrayal of Katniss, and even went to see her in Silver Linings Playbook. I spent quite a bit of time watching her on the late night comedy shows as well. I must admit that I found her extremely down to earth and talented. I take the time to discuss this because, she said something surprising when interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel a few weeks ago. Jimmy asked her how she was doing, and she told him that she was drunk because his producer had given her two shots of Tequila before coming out because she was nervous.
Jennifer Lawrence did appear to have lost her nerves and was able to charm the audience, that included her mother, that evening. She was relaxed, and able to reply to her male interviewer in a manner that represented her as an attractive, talented young lady. Her interview went very well, she laughed at all the right times, had appropriate responses, wasn’t slurring her words, and seemed just as delightful as anywhere else I had seen her. However, I was surprised that an actress of her caliber, who since has been honored with a Best Actress Oscar, felt anxious enough to allow someone to talk her into two shots before a live studio audience and cameras.
In contrast to Jennifer, I would like to consider Snooki (pictured on the left) who was 21 when she began filming Jersey Shore. I admit that my exposure to the body of work that Snooki has contributed to is not as extensive as is my exposure to Jennifer’s. I have seen two, maybe three episodes of the show. However, I can say that Snooki and her peers have definitely shown the costs of using alcohol as a “social lubricant.”
Many times Snooki and friends begin drinking and appear witty and clever at first, just as Jennifer did. However, whether because of their age, or lack of control, the amount of alcohol used typically got way beyond the two tequila shot level. The social settings that these young people found themselves in fostered and encouraged binge drinking behavior. The young ladies oftentimes found themselves having to calm down their male companions. Sometimes, the girls were left on their own either due to the males fighting or getting arrested. The violent behavior was not limited to the guys, the girls routinely got in fights with other girls, and sometimes guys as well. While under the influence of significant amounts of alcohol, the girls are known for very flirtatious behavior, that oftentimes they regretted when once again sober. There were also examples of blackouts, when cast members claimed to not recall the events of the night before.
I know that these two examples of the costs and benefits of using alcohol as a “social lubricant” come from opposite ends of the spectrum, but I am left to wonder whether Jennifer Lawrence’s successful showing is an example of what starts young people on this track in the first place. Jennifer has a skilled team of handlers, that includes her parents, who pay attention to what is going on around her. She has given them the ability to assist her in setting boundaries. When she drinks, it is a relatively ‘safe’ environment. However, by sharing with us that she, at 22, was able to drink and then go on stage, maybe others, see her successful performance and think that if she can do so well with a few drinks, they can too. Unfortunately, they don’t always have the self or outside controls that an Oscar nominee does, and so their drinking gets out of control.